Storied Buddhist Shrine Finds New Home

May 10, 2009

Author: Graeme Morton

Source: The Buddhist Channel/Calgary Herald,8165,0,0,1,0

A beautiful piece of southern Alberta spiritual history has found a new, permanent home.

The shrine from the former Japanese Buddhist temple in Raymond, the first and largest of its kind in Western Canada, was officially welcomed into the Glenbow Museum's Art of Asia gallery during a blessing ceremony last Sunday.

It's the culmination of a dream for Dr. Leslie Kawamura, the Numata Chair in Buddhist Studies at the University of Calgary, who bought the shrine when the Raymond temple closed in June 2006, and has donated it to the museum.

"The people at the Glen-bow have done a magnificent job in creating a beautiful home for the shrine with its lighting and placement," says Kawamura. "It's a very peaceful, quiet setting. I plan to visit it when I can and I hope many other people will use it as a place for contemplation and meditation."

A number of small, Jodo Shinshu-tradition Buddhist temples in southern Alberta towns such as Raymond, Taber, Picture Butte, Rosemary and Coaldale have closed in recent years. Their congregations have amalgamated into a new temple in Lethbridge, which opened April 26.